Aviation company, businessman awarded

An aviation company and a businessman who was among the founders of an economic development organization in Mesa County received the inaugural awards presented at the Western Colorado Economic Summit in Grand Junction.

West Star Aviation received the Spirit of Economic Development Award bestowed to businesses and organizations. Denny Granum received the Joseph Prinster Leadership Award bestowed to individuals.

West Star Aviation is what is known in the industry as a fixed-base operator, offering a range of services that include everything from aircraft maintenance and repairs to upgrades, painting and complete overhauls.

West Star Aviation has ranked as the top maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for three consecutive years in the results of annual surveys conducted for Professional Pilot, a prominent publication in the aviation industry.

The operation at the Grand Junction Regional Airport is one of the largest employers in the area with a staff of about 425 and an annual payroll of more than $18 million.

West Star Aviation expanded that operation in constructing a 45,000-square-foot paint hangar that can accommodate even large jet aircraft.

A recently announced partnership between West Star Aviation and the Norwest Equity Partners investment firm is expected to further grow the operation,

While he’s now retired, Granum served as president and owner of Monument Homes and Monument Realty in the Grand Valley for more than three decades.

He was among the founders in 1984 of the organization that became GJEP and still serves on the board.